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tv   Inside Washington  PBS  January 28, 2011 8:30pm-9:00pm EST

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>> what you think a tree can be? can it be stronger than steel? tend to treat the biodegradable plastic? can it be fuel for our cars? or clothing? or medicine that fights cancer? with our tree cell technology, we think it can. weyerhaeuser, growing ideas. >> at stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country or somewhere else. >> this week on "inside washington," the state of the union. the president says we must build for the future. >> we have got to be more productive, more capable, more skilled than any workers under
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the. >> how to build a future on a $1.50 trillion of red ink? >> endless borrowing is not a strategy. spending cuts have to come first. >> why are republicans speaking with the two voices? >> for years president obama made promises like the ones we heard this evening. >> thousands of egyptians take to the streets. time in washington nearly derails rahm emanuel's quest for his dream job. >> people have the right to make the choice for themselves who they think should be mayor. captioned by the national captioning institute >> well, the reviews, no surprise, were mixed. "washington post" financial columnist robert samuelson wrote that the state of the union was the teachable moment and barack
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obama did not teach. "time magazine's" joe klein said that the address made it the democrats the party of optimism and the republicans the party of our canal. optimism or birkenau? > -- bert can now? >> optimism, and the polls bear that out. people like it in enormous numbers did that and a cup of coffee -- that and a dime will not buy a cup of coffee in the long run. >> charles? >> optimism in the face of the cbo announcing our third $1.20 trillion deficit is folly. >> colby? >> we got rid of the sophomoric behavior in congress for one side stands and cheers and other sit on its hand. that is good. i was happy to see that the speaker did not cry. [applause]
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-- [laughter] president obama was good on the rhetoric but as a body on the substance -- disappointing on the substance. he punted the deficit. >> politically it worked pretty the themes for pitch perfect. -- politically it worked. the themes for pitch perfect. americans expect optimism from their leaders. there is no question he did that. but "where's the beef" is a legitimate question. >> the president was talking about winning the future. >> two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back, corporate profits are up, the economy is growing again. >> whether it is sold as a stimulus or packaged as investment they want a federal
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government that taxes too much and spends too much in order to do too much. during the last two years, that is exactly what we've got to come along with record deficits and debt. >> take your pick, mark -- glass is half-empty, half full. >> there are two kinds of conservatives. there are the five minutes to midnight conservatives. things are bad and they are going to get darker there are the five minutes to don conservatives. i would put in that category jack kemp and ronald reagan, who but the smiley face on conservatism. paul ryan, unfortunately for its national debut, someone who is well regarded by many, it fell into the five minutes to midnight. this is the time for cold showers and root canal. >> there are two types of
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democrats, those who spin and those who tell the truth. what we got from the president was a remarkable speech of spin. the main issue of the november election was debt, size and expansion of government. he did not even use the word "debt" until he was 35 minutes into the speech, and what he proposed was essentially nothing, the most trivial of cuts, in a speech in which the first half was all about new stimulus. it is as if nothing had happened, as if he was going to continue exactly as it was. it is as if he thinks the electorate is not serious when it says it wants serious shrinking of government and -- >> the electorate is not serious, and we see that all the time. they want eight generically but not specifically. they are not willing to pay to trim programs -- >> in those circumstances, a presidential lead and not pander -- a president should lead and not tender to an
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irresponsible electorate that allows three consecutive years of $1.50 trillion of dead. everyone knows it is unsustainable, or would you say otherwise? >> he is talking about education and rebuilding the infrastructure of the country, but again, how you do that with $1.50 trillion of that? >> gordon, there are two kinds of panelists. there are those who are just cranky. and then there are those with the milk of human kind just flows so freely from them. i and the latter. the investment that the president it talks about are legitimate. we have to build infrastructure and make investments in education. i don't criticize those at all. i applaud him for speaking to that. were he falls short is what to do about spending. i fear that we're getting into the same situation we got into with the health-care debate, where the president -- at that
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time i did not criticize -- set out broad parameters but left it to the congress initially. i doubt he can do that with the budget. he has to be very clear about what he wants to do. >> if you look at the budget and you realize the amount of money that has to be cut to make a serious dent in it, discretionary spending is a relatively small part of the budget. you have to do something about -- even a defense spending is small compared to entitlements. you have to do something about entitlements. >> one of the problems for the alleged crankiness that dr. colby has encountered it and detected is that when republicans were swimming, barack obama stole their rhetorical clothes.
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"making america the best place on earth to do business"? all the people celebrated were entrepreneurs, business successes, with the exception of the principal and the 55-year- old woman, a factory worker getting her by a technology degree. they were all the sort of taking charge and control of your own life. those themes are very popular themes, but once not historically associated with liberal democrats. >> colby said it was a good speech. we have to talk about the "investments," which of course is what democrats say when the day when otherwise to say spending but they won't use the word. he said he was ok on that, except it did not address spending, which is like saying, "other than that, mrs. lincoln, how was the play?" >> cranky, cranky. >> that was what the president
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on a deficit commission said, and i thought all of you uncranky liberals approved its conclusions. >> we will move forward together or not at all. the challenges we face are bigger than party. bigger than politics. at stake right now is not who wins the next election -- after all, we just had an election. at stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country or somewhere else. >> our nation is approaching a tipping point. we are at a moment where if government's's growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, america's best century will be considered our past century. >> it seems to me, without taking a position one way or the other, that this level of discourse seems to be at a higher level than what we're used to the past couple of years. >> i think it was. the ryan speech, but for all the
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gloominess, was an honest reflection of the facts. the man is known as mr. wonk and he knows his numbers straight what he said was undeniable. i would like to hear anybody on the panel deny it. if we continue this expansion of it debt, we will face is to weigh in with the country will decline with incredible rapidity and even face collapse. moody's is speaking about downgrading the ratings of the united states, which has been it aaa for years. >> "our nation is at a tipping point" -- paul ryan. >> when you talk about investment and spending versus entitlements, which is what i talked about before, one of the scariest statistics i saw recently in "national journal" is that in every decade in the past whatever number of decades, the number of jobs created has grown at least 20%.
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in the decade since 2000, before the recession, the number of jobs had only grown 5%. we have to prepare for a century with a new kind of education, what kinds of transportation, rebuilding our infrastructure. that does take investment or spending. compared to entitlement reform, that really isn't that much. >> why was michele bachmann also giving a response to the state of the union? >> it is because sarah palin was unavailable. >> does this have the blessing of republican leaders? >> they were obviously discomfited and upset by this. it sold letter of the official republican response, widely deliver -- it stole the thunder of the official republican response, rightly delivered by the guy who knows the most about this. >> on the other hand, she delivered a point of view that
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was not reflected in paul ryan's comments. there is a house republican study group committee, 3/5 of the republicans in the house, the proposed $100 billion of cuts in the budget, and they want to do this in connection with the continuing resolution which expires march 4. they are intent on going ahead with it, and boehner has said he will allow amendments so the house can work its will. you will see a real sharp split between traditional conservatives and the tea party people, who bachmann represents. she is very legitimate. i am glad to see people like bachmann and sarah palin stepped forward. that is a problem they have within their ranks. >> mark? >> let me say in a spirit of comity that like a broken clock, a major panelist here is right twice a day.
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[laughter] >> that is what i call a new spirit of civil discourse. how deeply i appreciate it. twice a day. >> twice a day. charles is right about the gulf. right now, not to be terribly wonky, we are talking about 24.7% of the gross domestic product of this country being spent by the federal government, and at the same time, we are collecting 14.8%. i would just point out we balanced the budget 3.5 years in a row under bill clinton. each year we did it, we collected at least 18.5-19% of gross domestic product. that has to be done. cuts have to be made, increased collections have to be made. that is absolutely imperative, and that is why the budget is important. the great themes in the state of the union. the budget is the reality, and that is the moral and fiscal
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statement of the economy. >> the economy grew in the last quarter. does that make anybody happy? >> it is definitely an improvement. >> it reflects, i think, some of the stimulus spending that has taken place that some people want to acknowledge. -- some people don't want to a knowledge. >> the economy did grow at 9% in earlier times, under both the reagan and clinton. different times. >> i wish that we did not have to go on the street to impress on the regime that we need to change. we tried signatures, we tried elections. nothing worked. >> that is nobel laureates and egyptian pro-democracy advocate, elbaradei -- mohammed elbaradei. tens of thousands of people
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demonstrating in cairo and elsewhere in the middle east, demanding an end to the 30-year rule our -- of president hosni mubarak. apparently the muslim brotherhood is going to join in in egypt. mubarak has been trying to keep the camera down on the muslim brotherhood of for years. >> these were not as originally their demonstrations. the idea later arrive for here. but that is what everybody is scared about, with real justification, because this is a muslim country. mubarak has been extremely valuable to us in lots and lots of ways, has not been at war with israel. at the same time, he has been a pretty ruthless suppressor of any democratic instincts. it has been a tricky tight rope with the obama administration and previous administrations to walk. >> what kind of market do you give the obama administration on this? >> there has been forced on this one. i have been to egypt may be half a dozen times, i've watched over
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a period of time young people really frustrated. they cannot get work, cannot get jobs anywhere, it terribly under employed it, and there is a tremendous gap between haves, very small, and have not. it is more of a police state and any place i've been to in the middle east. because of anwar sadat and reaching a peace accord, the united states has been giving and backing egypt to keep them where they are with israel. but in terms of economic development, nothing has really happened there. >> we are seeing demonstrations in yemen, jordan, algeria, we saw what happened in tunisia, where the president was toppled. >> the tension here is fundamentally two values. one, the cherished american value of universal freedom and democracy that every human being has the right to life, liberty,
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and the pursuit of happiness, coupled on the other side with raw national interest. it has been in the united states' national interest to look the other way at this suppression and oppression a very simply because of the policies of egypt. we don't know who is going to take over. this is not like walesa and havel in poland and czechoslovakia. we don't know what is coming. >> that is what is so dangerous. in tunisia, where it all started, the islamists are quite weak. it could happen that the islamists the takeover, but it is unlikely. the problem with egypt is that the muslim brotherhood, in part because of the repression of mubarak, is the most disciplined, strong opposition. now, it is late in the game, but you can be late in the game, like len in the russian revolution -- lenin in the
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russian revolution, and it win the game. the question is, if elbaradei ends up in power, that is ok. he would be a democrat, you have a democracy. if the muslim brotherhood does not take advantage of chaos and takes over, as happened in gaza. >> as we used to say in the street corner in the old neighborhood, i think mubarak bostick with this move was too slow. -- mubarak's quick this move was too slow. he has lost the opportunities to gain some ground. all of a sudden these disparate groups have coalesced, and they realize they can push the government. you already have the prime minister assuring some concessions. why is he doing that? because of the pressure. >> this has the smell of the
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shah of iran. >> it does. >> when you lose the mandate of heaven, if one riot succeeds where police don't shoot back, it is over. >> look at to the job. we tried to make concessions. it was too late. >> does anybody believe that the next government, whatever form it takes, is going to be as cooperative with the united states, or more skeptical at perhaps hostile? >> i think what the supreme court said was, in short, that the voters will make decisions who should be mayor. nobody else should make it for them. >> the president asks you to come to washington as chief of staff. how'd you say no? you don't sell your house in chicago, you spend a couple of years here working for the president, actor richard daley says he is not going to run, --
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after richard daley says he's an icon to run, the dream job is open. then what happens? >> the supreme court -- the appellate courts as you are not really a resident, defying years of precedent. adlai stevenson ran for governor after he had been an ambassador. the supreme court overruled that, but it took several days, and everybody in the democratic party had a heart attack in the meantime >> is that the end of it? >> i think it is of the end of it. >> this is a crisis that lasted less than one week is over now, and we can get on with business. >> it had to be over, because they were sending out ballots. >> the good thing is, rahm ron will be -- rahm will be in chicago, not washington. [laughter] >> the court made a good
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decision. it was fully his intention. he expressed while chief of staff of the white house on charlie rose's showed that his intention was to run for mayor of chicago. with characteristic humility, rahm emanuel did add that he was relieved for the people of chicago. [laughter] thank you, rahm. >> i was not surprised by the supreme court ruling. it went under reported that each member of the illinois supreme court had received a package with a dead fish inside. [laughter] >> jay carney, a new white house press secretary. good man, right? what do you think will happen? the change in climate there? >> a real reporter. he has been a working journalist, and that in itself has b -- is a bit of a change of pace. >> he has the chance to be respected. gibbs was pretty universally disliked by the press corps, who
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thought he was a cipher -- >> i don't know about that. >> cipher is strong. >> he was seen as a wiry, but his relations with the press corps -- >> this is a press secretary who really had the president's ear. he could speak authoritatively. whether he decided to do so is another matter. >> he mastered the art of being completely obscure in a hostile way. >> bill daley, jay carney, a whole bunch of other people. is it a good thing? >> i think it is, because it is a new look for the president. he has certainly shifted grounds. he is making an open pitch to the middle, he is making an open page to the business community. he is giving heartburn to the democrats money talks about vetoing any bill with earmarks in eight.
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i think the staff is going to pick up the new, that we're talking about now, regardless of who the staff might be. >> what to bill daley and jay carney bring to this adventure that rahm emanuel and robert gibbs said do not? >> after two years in office, it is a different place. bill daley brings a longer, more extensive experience in national politics, a private affairs, business, and then any chief of staff on the democratic side has brought in a long time. he comes from -- he has at national political experience. he went to the mondale campaign. he knows the players. and he is a grown-up. he does not have political ambitions of its own, which was a bit of a conflicting point with rahm. as far as jay carney is concerned, he has the advantage of having covered the white house. he knows what it is like.
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he is an award winning reporter. the question is how quickly he goes to the dockside. -- dark side. [laughter] >> the best press secretaries are the ones who said, look, you made a mistake, these are the facts, this is where we stand and where the president stands but other than to beat you over that, they want to help you with the accuracy of a copy. >> i think he will be a good one. he is a guy who genuinely likes reporters, adding been one. secondly, he is known from his years at "time magazine" as a pretty straight shooter, middle- of-the-road guy. but i find a disconnect between obama's off limits, which are quite a centrist, and to return to what we talked about earlier, the message of the state a union -- state of the union, continuing on an ideological path, slightly restraint, no real cuts, defending obamacare.
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in other words, reinforcing the message of the first two years suggesting the old obama, but at the same time that the appointments are suggesting a new centrist obama. >> is it a new obama or the old obama in a new suit? >> there will of course be spending cuts. we will see that reflected in the budget. they may not be the ones you like, but there will be spending cuts. he has yet to deliver on that. whether he will have deficit reduction to the extent that will make a significant difference, i don't know. >> he did not propose any cuts. he only spoke about a freeze. >> it is fair to say which obama is the real obama? he did a complete pivot. he was elected as a centrist, futuristic a person could then he ended up being -- i would not say a socialist at all, but leaning slightly left, doing all the things that the left wing of
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the party should like in the middle of a recession, and then he definitely pivots and moves back to the center. it is fair to ask which is the real obama? all the people he put in place are people who would help them with an industrial policy that bill clinton promoted that is business-centric. >> you get the last word. we will see you next week. for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to vo:geico, committed to providing service to
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